Coast Guard stops boat with 400 Haitians off the Bahamas and likely headed to Florida

David Goodhue/

David Goodhue
Mon, January 23, 2023 at 9:53 AM EST

The U.S. Coast Guard stopped a migrant boat carrying nearly 400 people from Haiti near an isolated island in the Bahamas, according to Bahamian officials.

The Coast Guard on Sunday intercepted the 396 people near Cay Sal Bank, a remote island about 30 miles off the northern coast of Cuba, according to a statement released by the Bahamian Department of Immigration on Sunday night.

Sources had told the Miami Herald days before that the overloaded boat was likely headed toward the Florida Keys. Several overloaded Haitian freighters packed with people leaving Haiti have shown up off the coast of the island chain since November 2021.

Their arrivals coincide with an exodus from Cuba that began about two years ago but has increased significantly since the Christmas holidays.

PHOTOS: How did they make it in those boats? An exclusive look at migrant vessels in the Keys

The Coast Guard has intercepted more than 2,000 people from Haiti and 5,180 Cubans migrating by boat since the beginning of October.

Cay Sal Bank is among a group of uninhabited islands at the southern end of the Bahamas that are a frequent stopover for migrants from Cuba and Haiti on their way to South Florida.

Miami Herald staff writers Syra Ortiz-Blanes and Jacqueline Charles contributed to this report.

This developing story will be updated as more information becomes available.